How Oshiomhole Played Into Buhari’s Hands

By Stephen Ubanna

Ahead of the 2019 , general  elections, Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state,south-south Nigeria  and embattled National Chairman , of the All progressives Congress, APC,  appears to have stepped on powerful toes which may have landed him into  President Muhammadu Buhari’s  troubles.

Oshiomhole’s problem  was said to have started with the  conduct of the last September  governorship primaries in the states where there was deep animosity over allegations of fraud against him. The deep animosity was said to have been more  pronounced in Ogun, Imo and Zamfara, states governed bySenator Ibikunle Amosu,  Rochas Okrocha and Abdullaziz Yari, respectively and who incidentally were Buhari close political allies.

The trio may not have hidden their anger against Oshiomhole  for failing to endorse   their nominations for the governorship  primaries in their respective states  as the authentic  Candidates  which  ought to have  been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission , INEC, to contest , the 2019 general elections.There were insinuations  in party circles in the states that the trio  were  against  Oshiomhole, because of their  perception of his  game plan  to frustrate and render them  powerless .

Insiders told the Magazine   that the trio who may not want to defect to the  rival People’s Democratic party, PDP, or any other party to ensure that their nominated  govenorship  Candidates  realise their political  ambitions to avod playing into playing into the hands  Buhari who may want to use Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic   and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, or Yusufi Bichi, Director General, Department of State Security Service,, DSS, to witch-hunt them.

 

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The Magazine learnt that  the trio may have won the President’s  heart  against Oshiomhole  with the way  they presented the matter to him portraying   the party Natinal Chairman as a fraud and the need to remove him before he finally destroys the party to satisfy his pay masters.

 

The aggrieved governors were aid to have made it clear to Buhari and all those that care to listen  that unless Oshiomhole reviews the governorship t list  submitted to the INEC, for consideration for the February 28, 2019, governorship, elections, the party stands the risk of losing their respective  states to the rival PDP.

Senator Amosu,  governor of  Ogun state , who have never his support for Abdul Adekunle Akinlade,  the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy to take over from him against Dapo Abiodun, an oil magnate who was selected by the party, appears to have heat up the polity in the state. This is because he has succeeded in polarising  the party between the two frontline  governorship Candidates in the state.

Incidentally, he  shares the same complaints with Okorocha , his counterpart in Imo state,  who has repeatedly accused the  APC, National Chairman of  ”destroying  the party  in the state for failing to submit Uche Nwosu, his son-In-Law and allegeed  crony as   the governorship Candidate of the party in the state to INEC instead of Senator Hope Uzodinma. His argument was that Nwosu won the party  primaries and the only Candidate, if elected governor of Imo state  on the platform of APC.  would  ”protect the high  integrity  of Buhari and  the integrity of the party”.

The situation in Zamfara  appears more  dworrisome as the state,  at present has no governorship Candidate  since the rejection of  Mukthar Shehu Idris, the state Commissioner of Finance and Yari’s nomination for the exalted position  by   Oshiomhole led  APC leadership , on the allegation  that there was no proper Conduct of  the governorship primaries in the state.

Party sources told the Magazine that there was nothing Amosu, Okorocha or Yari, had  not done to arm-twist  Oshiomhole including using  blackmail  to force him to  bow to their pressure  of submitting their  anointed Candidates to INEC   for the  2019, governorship elections in their respective states but  no luck.

The aggrieved governors  pressure on  the APC Chairman,  may have forced him to rush to the President’s office to loge his complaints   and also plead with him to call the  governors and their nominated  Candidates to order. He may have  shown that all is not well  with the APC when he declared after emerging from the meeting with   Buhari that  he will not ” mortgage his conscience  in order  to keep his APC National Chairmanship job”, an indication that Buhari may have asked him to listen to the aggrieved  governors  and give them what they want or be ready to quit the APC  Chairmanship Job.

An angrieved  Oshiomhole had  noted that  if out of the 23  APC governors in the states , only three  of them  were not pleased  with the outcome  of the last governorship primaries ,” no one could begrudge   them  for not being happy if a particular  outcome  did not coincide with their expectations”.  Oshiomhole  may have  thought that  Buhari, who he claims, knows about  everything  he is doing , would back him  over his  actions to play according to the rule . He got it wrong.

Unknown to him, the president was not in support of what he had done to the governors’ Candidates in the three states. This is because, the governors were his some of his strongest allies who could be used to realise his re-election bid in 2019. The President who may have felt bad did  show  his anger to Oshiomhole to avoid distabilising him.

Worried by Oshiomhole’s hard-line position  and to clear the air that the President was not in support of his actions, Okorocha, was said to have had an  audience with him at the Presidential villa last Thursday. He could not hide the  anger in him when he came out from the President’s  office as the President  may have made him to understand  that he never gave any directive  to the former Edo state governor  to do anything” illegal or create any form of injustice in the party”.  Armed with the information, Okorocha may have prepared himself to fight Oshiomhole  to the last to get justice in the party.

He fears that  over five million voters  in the state  may have lost to the rival Opposition party, PDP, because of anger and protest  everywhere in the state, stressing that the President needed to call Oshiomhole to order before he finally destroys the party.

The embattled APC National Chairman’s’s troubles may have actually  started when Amosu said  to  the hearing of Buhari  that  Oshiomhole’s ”mission in APC  was  to kill the party”, going by his Statement describing him as a” liar over his account   of the controversies trailing  the party’s gubernatorial primaries in the state”.He may have bought the idea and was  waiting for an opportunity  to rope Oshiomhole in as a way  whittling down  the powers  of  Aswaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and National leader of the party  and who have never hidden his support for him. .

Hajiya Aisha Buhari may have made his case worse  when she warned  the APC  National Chairman not to step to the Presidential quarters to see the President  on any  official matter but take it to his Presidential office for not doing her biddings to bend the rule in the party primaries in Taraba state to favour his brother.

Political analysts knew that the moment   Ahajiya  Buhari  also turned her back on Oshiomhole, the party  was over for him in the Presidency., which exposed him to various  attacks  and  earned him disrespect  from government security agencies. the Magazine learnt that  Bichi, the Director General, DSS, had informed Buhari  about plans to detain and   grill  the APC National Chairman  over allegations of fraud  leveled against him  by the aggrieved governors of Ogun, Imo and Zamfara states.

He was said to have given the nod to the  DSS  officials o go  ahead  and do their job, when he was told about the allegations against the party Chairman. The President who  did not want to be seen as sheilding   Oshiomhole  gave the secret police  the green light to grill him. He was said to have been detained and grilled for several hours . He was however granted  Administrative bail with the approval of the President to give him a relief.

. The APC  National Chairman  may have read the handwriting on the wall that he had  lost out in the power equation in the party  that he was forced to escape to the United States to save his life.  But Bichi, the DSS boss , has made it clear to those that care to listen that Oshiomhole’s trouble is  not over as he is expected  to return  to the agency  for further interrogation  any time  he returns o the country.

The   worry of party members  was that he had left the party to the United States  on the excuse of going to to have rest when he was needed most in the country  now to oversee theparty  plan for next year’s general elections, fueling speculations that  he may have seen that the party have no chances of beating the  rival PDP in the election.  The feud between  the APC, Natinal chairman and the  three aggrieved governors who had petitioned to  the DSS, may have sent a signal to Buhari that there is  danger ahead.  This is because the crisis between the party Chairman and the governors is coming three months to the 2019 Presidential elections.

A party source told the Magazine that the President had made several efforts  in the last two weeks to settle the rifts between the two camps  but no headway, an indication that it would be  an uphill task  for the party to win  the crisis ridden states or for Buhari to win the 2019 Presidential elections.

The internaal crisis in APC, may have  forced  Abba Gana, a former minister of the Federal Capital territory, FCT,  to say  that  Tinubu, would work  for Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and PDP  Presidential Candidate because of their long standing relationship.

Many believe that the former FCT minister may have  made the statement to further deepen the crisis of confidence within APC.  This may have forced he APC National leader  to quickly come out to condemn the Statement in its entirety and  to re-state his commitment  for the re-election  bid of Buhari in  next year’s general elections.  He knew  the implication of keeping quiet to the former minister’s  weighty statement as Buhari may use the EFCC or the DSS to go after him for hobnobbing with the PDP.

Gana, who is optimistic  that APC  will lose  the 2019 general elections to the PDP, said’,’  They came with the promise  of improving security , economy and fighting Corruption in the country, but not much had been done ”.

According to him, ” the security problem  in the country  now was worse than ever.  ”We have all kinds of security issues  in Taraba, home state  of Theophilous Danjuma, a Lt General rtd, and former Chief of Army Staff  , Zamfara, Benue, Kaduna, Borno and several other parts of the country. He  had simply declared: ”APC has failed’ but Buhari would not agree that the APC has failed, insisting that his Administration has uplifted the  economy and improved  the security situation of the  country, which  many believed had translated to” hunger”.

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